Everyone seems to be upset about our Alaska Board of Fisheries lately but few understand how the board was created to function and how it is currently functioning. The board was created by intelligent and good Alaskans who simply believed that other intelligent and good Alaskans could be appointed to the Alaska Board of Fish by our elected representatives. The problem with our board of fish then developed from politicians incorrectly defining the term “intelligent and good Alaskans.” As specialized commercial fisheries developed each different type then requested additional fisheries access until all of the harvestable fisheries surplus was commercially allocated for someone to harvest. Then public users also began requesting additional fisheries access and were told that all had been allocated. This is when the “Fish Wars” began as special interests began attempting to manipulate the board of fisheries. Politicians then began the practice of appointing intelligent and good Alaskans who just happened to have “special/conflict of interest axes to grind” while serving on the board. Intelligent and good decision making was then tainted by special/conflict of interest decision making that was sometimes outrageous and illogical. This new tainted board process then resulted in many unintelligent and bad decisions. All the fisheries in Alaska then suffered greatly under these tainted decisions therefore most fisheries users in Alaska then became upset by what the board of fisheries process had become.
Currently our board of fisheries members are appointed by Alaska’s governor and confirmed by its legislature. These appointments are now primarily made with regard to the special/conflict of interest that a board members may possess and secondary with regard to them being intelligent and good Alaskans. Special/conflict of interest board members have become our new standard and the primary flaw within our board of fisheries. The board was conceived to operate with intelligent and good members but is now saturated with special/conflict of interest members, thus the reason everyone is upset.
This is the equivalent of placing drug dealers and murders on a prison parole board, could you image who would be paroled? The solution is simple, return the board to only intelligent and good Alaskans and do not appoint board members who have special/conflict of interest axes to grind.
By appointing commercial fisherman Roland Maw to The Alaska Board of Fisheries, Governor Walker has decided to continue the illogical practice of appointing board of fisheries members with special/conflict of interest axes to grind. This type of appointment is the core of the reason we most of our user groups are so upset by the decisions flowing from our board of fish. We need to remove all board members who have conflict of interests and return to members who are just intelligent and good.